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How can Barthes' codes and lexis be applied to Kerala's Hill Pandaram tribe's folk songs?

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In the book S/Z, philosopher and writer Roland Barthes outlines several categories of codes, which are based on structuralist theories and went on to influence post-structuralism. The first element in the code taxonomy is the Hermeneutic code (HER), which is a narrative vehicle that pushes a narrative forward, usually by an invisible or mysterious force. In anthropological studies of the Hill Pandaram people of Kerala, India, researchers found that their culture's oral history is related through the medium of singing. Similar to other indigenous cultures around the world, the Hill Pandaram people have a creation story, and it is an important aspect of their pagan religious system. This could be an example of HER.

The other code is Proairetic (ACT). This code states that there various events and interlinked sequences of behaviors can contribute to a story which could be outside of the narrative's logic. Ethnographers have found that the stories and songs of the Hill Pandaram people have their own logic based on their unique cultural norms, traditions, ideologies, and way of thinking. To outsiders, the narrative structure of their songs might be illogical, but that is because non–Hill Pandaram people do not fully understand contexts and nuances that only tribal members comprehend. This is akin to a non-American misunderstanding American idioms (sayings) or specific regional slang terms.

The other codes are Semantic (SEM) and Symbolic (SYM). These are the most prominent codes found in the Hill Pandaram's oral traditions and songs. Like many other cultures, symbolism is a recurring element in songs and literary traditions like poetry. For instance, one of the songs found in the tribe contains the lyrics, "The Tribal messiah has come from the forest to the fields." Messiah is an honorary term for their tribal leader, who is named Najundiah. He was seen as a messiah or prophet by those who came in contact with him; thus, he was mythologized in songs.

The last code is Cultural (REF), which encompasses the overall concept of cultural identity infused into songs and other oral traditions. The cultural code is the interpretation of the songs of the Hill Pandaram people external to the song itself. For instance, future-generation Hill Pandaram people can interpret the songs of the messiah in various contexts; they might interpret them as a religious prophecy or as a philosophical lesson, for example.

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